I, as I’m sure you do, regularly receive emails from SEO ‘gurus’, who take great delight in telling me how awful my website is and how it can’t be found on Google for any semi-relevant keyword. The guru’s email then goes on to tell me how all this can be easily fixed by utilising their SEO tactics; for a whopping fee of course.
Most of the emails are instantly deleted with just an exasperated ‘tut-tut’ my only comment. But recently I received one of these messages (actually five in three days) which literally made my jaw drop in astonishment. The ‘advice’ contained within this email, which was trying to sell me a WordPress plug in, is so bad it is staggering. In fact it is more than staggering it is downright dangerous. I’ve reproduced the core of the message below, the highlighting is mine:
“You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO? You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1, H2, H3 tags in your article. Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of bold and italics of your keyword.”
To be honest I had to check my calendar to make sure I hadn’t nodded off and woken in 2010. Keyword stuffing, random bolding of keywords, and the other little tricks might have been the way to achieve higher search engine rankings in the past but Google’s Panda updates and algorithmic changes have consigned these tactics to the dustbin of cyber history.
The sad thing is, there are bound to be some recipients of that email who take the advice to heart, buys the no doubt overpriced plug in, and then wonders why their rankings don’t improve or, equally possible, they tank altogether after Google slaps a penalty on the content.
Now, once upon a time, these tactics did work, heck I used them myself back in the day. But that was when search engines were like the Wild West and the guys with the blackest hats won all the battles. Time, and Google, has moved on. The search engines are now constantly reinventing themselves and evolving so they can understand language. There is no longer any need to put your keyword in every sentence or indulge in the pseudo science of calculating keyword density.
Bring on a sub
It is very easy to go overboard with using keywords, after all you have that keyword in mind when you are writing and, before you know it, you have literally stuffed the article with it. Instead of flogging a keyword to death try and get creative with synonyms.
A synonym is basically a word which has the same or similar meaning as the original; e.g., sofa & settee or illustration & image. This is a much more natural way of writing which, ironically enough, is what will help your post be ranked higher as search engines become more adapt at understanding language and interpreting the content on a page for relevance to a users search query.
So, how DO you write SEO content for your website?
The easy answer is… you don’t. Sorry to be glib but forget all about writing content tailored for search engines and rankings. There are no magic formulas or shortcuts anymore. Attempting to ‘game’ Google is such a bad idea. There is only ever going to be one winner and it won’t be you.
The art of SEO copywriting is to make your content engaging, interesting, and shareable. It needs to be written for your visitor, not to try and second-guess an algorithm. Create interesting content visitors to your website actually want to read.
They will spend more time on your site, will engage with the content by leaving a comment, and may share your article on social media; all of which will help your search engine rankings. Visitors who enjoy your content will see you as an expert in your field, and are also more likely to sign up for your newsletter or buy your product, which, after all, is the reason we all create content in the first place.
So, just completely ignore SEO?
Not quite. You still need to create a content strategy around relevant keywords. Do your research, or ask me about doing that for you, and from that research draw up a list of keywords you should target.
It is still good practice in SEO copywriting to include your keyword in your pages meta title and in your headline if possible, and in the alt tag of an image if it is appropriate, but that’s it. Don’t worry about how many times it is used or doing outdated tricks like bolding the word.
In fact, you can turn things around and use the old SEO tactics as a counterbalance to make sure you aren’t in danger of having your post labelled as spam. If you read back your article and are aware your target keyword is sounding dangerously repetitive swap a few out for a handy synonym or two.
Hire an SEO copywriter
As a freelance copywriter with 17 years experience of writing SEO content for websites (I was doing this before Google was a search engine). I can create the content you need to lift your website out of the crowd.
Engaging, interesting, and helpful content, created around the keywords you have researched, will attract more traffic (visitors) and convert more of your readers into buyers. High-quality content will also propel your website up the Google rankings giving your brand more exposure in the search engines and growing your organic (free) traffic.
For an informal chat on how I can help your business by writing copy which is optimised for both your visitors and Google give me a call on 07722 431483 or drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org